winston’s may and what is ahead

Well another month has been and gone in Winston towers ,this month has been one of the busiest so far this year ,having a weeks holiday and a number of night shifts has raised number read also apart from one book they’ve all been corkers this month .

The books

  1. Life a user manual by Georges Perec .
  2. Offside by tom Palmer .
  3. Cheerful weather for a wedding by Julia Strachey
  4. world cup wishes by Eshkol Nevo
  5. le bal by Irene Nemirovosky
  6. cafe Europa by Slavenk Drakula
  7. alphabet of the night by Jean Euphele Milce
  8. the labyrinth of solitude by Octavio Paz
  9. neighbour by Lilla Momple
  10. A way of being free by Ben Okri
  11. Almost dead BY Assaf Gavron
  12. the old child by Jenny Erpenbeck
  13. dark nights of the soul by Jermey Simpson
  14. tropical night falling Manuel Puig
  15. blaugast by Paul Leppin


100 books in a year – 54 /100 well on course

52 books –  15/52 only one on the list ,still add more translated books need read a couple next month .


I m start arabic reading challenge still got a book to read for nymeths challenge a things mean a lot from 1930’s have start murder at red house by A.A.Milne counts i hope start on e reader last night .

favourite book last month 2

cafe Europa

Slavenka Drakulic

and offside 

off side Tom Palmer

Almost dead by Assaf Gavron

almost dead


This is Assaf fourth novel its original title in hebrew translates as croc attack ,he has his own site and on that i found out that he runs a football team made up of israeli writers that tour the world playing other teams of writers ,he has also worked on a game based around the israeli Palestine peace process and how to work it out .Assaf has also translated a number of english books into his native hebrew .he is also the singer in cult israeli band the foot and mouth that have released four albums .


The book follows two stories that intertwine the first follows Eitan Einoch a businessman from Tel aviv his business is time well seconds really he works for a software company that produces telephone software that can save seconds when searching for numbers ,the company is called time arrow ,to get to work he sometimes catches a bus the little no 5 one of these small bus that run around Tel Aviv anyway this particular day there happens to be a suicide bomber on board the bus now Eitan manages to survive the blast ,and in the next week is involved in two more attacks that he survives ,this draws him to the attention of the media who make him into a celeb ,as croc attack a play on his name that in hebrew is similar to word for croc .this makes him even more of a target for the bombers .

meanwhile the second strand follows Fahmi Sabih a bomber that survived a bomb that is laid in a coma in a hospital as he drifts through his mind and memories the history of his family how his relatives had to move on the making of the Israeli state ,how he was drawn into the world of the bombers via his brother .You discover how hard it is growing up in modern-day Palestine .all this and the two character describe everyday life and popular culture of israeli and Palestine .

I climbed aboard the little no. 5 as i did every morning pn my way to work ,”little no. 5 is what I call the minibus sized cab which follows the route of the no. 5 bus ,It’s actually a cross between a bus and a cab .You get the best of both worlds – the familiar route and the cheapness of the bus ,but they’ve got the speed of a cab and you can hail them and get of where you like .

the opening lines of almost dead .


This book shows both sides of the fence  ,we see one man wrestle with why he attack and the second with why he was attacked ,Eitans job becomes less important and may be his job is a symbol for the conflict as saving small amount of time seems pointless and the constant tit for tat of the Israeli conflict seems pointless at times and also has lead to such great loss of life on both sides  .Assaf has manage to draw the whole conflict down to the tale of two men either side of the divide  and what it brings to there lives ,which is good to either of them .this book is in the like of catch 22 using humour to explain the madness of war .



link to assafs gavrons homepage

link to harperperennial page

winstons post

Well there has been a few packages at Winston towers . This week here i ll give a brief description of books and where they came from –

Andrew Kaufman from Telegram


1. These came from Kelly at telegram books ,via twitter .these are the debut and new novel by Canadian writer Andrew Kaufman .All my friends are superheros his debut came out in 2003 it follows tom a non superhero in a world of superheros as he tries to be seen by his wife that has been hypnotized to not see tom by her ex .the new novel the water proof bible which see three character Rebecca lewis and Aberystwyth going on a road trip come quest across Canada as they try to find redemption .

link to telegram page

on many deaths of Amanda Palmer

2. this book came to me by duckworth books via twitter ,it is a collection of writings edited by Rohan Kriwaczech ,the musician writer and composer ,the book follows an outpouring of writing by fans of Dresden dolls and now solo singer Amanda Palmer these piece sprung up on the internet and have now been given the term Palmeresque ,it is a wonderful example of fan fiction .

 link to duckworth page

the inheritance Peter Stephan Jungk

3. via Pushkin press ,I m taking part in my first blog tour and this is the book we re touring .the book is from  the well-known German writer Peter Stephan Jungk he is also a screenwriter and essayist ,lives in paris .the book follows Daniel Loew a poet as he tries to claim his uncles inheritance ,this takes him to his uncle’s home in Venezuela and then on to Miami and hamburg ,all this against a back drop of Hugo Chavez failed coup .the book is a Hoffman translation so really looking forward to it

link to Pushkin press  

books from insidebooks

4. these came from my friend and fellow blogger Simon ,strangely the books have thematically similar covers although totally different stories ,the book of fame is Lloyd jones debut novel ,he shot to fame with mister Pip ,Jones is from New Zealand and his debut follows the first all black tour of england a group of ordinary men become huge heros after this successful tour in 1905 .The second is David Mitchells new novel a book that is set to become on of the books of the year and may give him the booker the book follows Jacob De Zoet a dutch clerk in 1790’s japan .as ever Mitchell has proved his talent by writing something different to his previous canon of work .

link to inside books

few days off

I ve decide to take a few days break ,will still be commenting on blogs ,hopefully back tuesday after bank holiday ,full of joys of summer .

taking part in the arabic summer reading challenge 2010

arabic lit

M.Lynx Qualey of ARABLIT  blog is hosting a an arabic reading challenge ,she has ask writers critics and scholars to pick great books from the arab world and you can choose one or five to read over the summer i ve picked five myself  my five choice if they all come from library
1 tales from dayrut by Mohamed  Mustagab(Egypt)
2 cities of salt by Abd al Rahman Munif (Saudi arab)
3 for bread alone by Mohamed Choukri (Morocco)
4 yalo by Elias Khoury (Lebanon)
5 i saw ramallah by Mourid Barghouti (Palestine)

a varied selection from my library

Have you a favourite arab book ?

world cup of writer Paraguay


Now this was a struggle to find some so there isn’t many names and be truthful I ve not read any but will try to after reading up about some books from Paraguay ,the main writer that has got regontion abroad is Augusto Roa Bastos who was part of the latin american boom and wrote a highly regarded novel i the supreme ,a fictionalized account of a 19th century dictator in Paraguay the book is available on the dalkey archive press .there is a poet called Renee Ferrer de Arrellaga  here is a poem extract

  El eco de los pájaros The echo of the birds
  se ha vuelto ceniciento. has turned the colour of ash.
  De los árboles cuelga la amargura del duelo; From the trees hangs the bitterness of the duel;
  y en la trémula línea del silencio, and in the flickering line of the silence,
  calado de abandono, fret with abandonment,
  asumo I assume
  la soledad sin término. unending solitude

there is also a modern-day sci-fi writer called jeu Azarru ,who writes cyber punk and short stories .

World cup memories –

I remember them in france 1998 ,mainly because of their free kick and penalty taking goal keeper Jose Luis Chilavert a cult figure in his homeland ,he even scored 4 goals in qualifying for 2002 world cup ,at moment Roque Santa Cruz is there best known player he plays for Manchester city ,Paraguay has qualified for 7 world cups and reach 2nd round 3 times .


Penguin product (RED)

books for a cause

I brought these yesterday ,they are part of a series of  8 books Penguin have published with a partnership with the Global H.I.V fund   product red  ,hopefully i will try to get some more when i can ,as i think it is a good cause and the cover designs all look great .they also added to my classic collection ,which is good as I ve not read nearly enough classic fiction .So if your out and about why don’t you pick up one the titles are –

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Therse Raquin by Emile Zola

Anne Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

The secret agent by Joseph Conrad

Great expectations by Charles dickens

The turn of the screw by Henry James

Notes from the underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The house of mirth by Edith Wharton

A way of being free by Ben okri

Ben okri

Notes –  

Ben Okri is one of the greatest living writer born in Nigeria and educate their and in england ,he won the booker for the first of the famished road trilogy ,he is vice president of the english centre for international PEN ,he has published a number of novels ,poetry and this non fiction collection his last book tales of freedom which i heard him reading from is a collection of very short almost haiku like stories . 

The book – 

The book contains 12 essays from Ben that were written over a ten-year period for a number of different publications and events .the ones that stood out for me firstly a pair of essays about the art of storytelling ,where the role and power of a writer are questioned and how writers have to try to tell the truth ,how it originate in africa . these essays remind me so much of his talk the passion he invokes for the reader and how he said it is for the reader to interpret the writers words not for the writer to tell the reader .Another essay dealt with Othello and why he is still played from time to time by white actors ,when the role is a moor ,ben asks do people still have a fear of a single black man on the stage in a lead role .elsewhere poets ,a painting featuring a minotaur are discussed . 


It is in the creation of story , the lifting of story into the realm of art , it is in this that the higher realms of creativity reside. 


A   good story keeps growing .A good story never dies . 


stories are the wisest surving parts of a peoples stupidities or failings . 

some of the short phrases in the joy of storytelling part 2 

My view – 

I am a huge fan of Ben Okri and really enjoyed these essays ,they reminded me of his talk you can sense the passion floating of the page and surrounding you like a blanket ,you want to grab the next book on your T.B.R pile after this and read it cover to cover ,a bit like Manugel Okri has a passion for the written word and portraying this to the reader . 

the score – 


owl – the owl is always portrayed with books and being wise this suits this book and the beauty with in it

World cup of writers – Argentina


Well to talk about writers from Argentina there is only really one place to start and that is Jorge Luis Borges ,the godfather Latin american writing ,He was one of the most talented and innovated writers ,with stories that where surreal at time, alternate histories ,magic realism and with some of his very short stories you could even say he event flash fiction before it was invented .In later life he went blind and had people to read to him ,now one of these readers near the end of his life was Alberto Manugel who went on to become a writer as well ,his novel Stevenson under the palms is a favourite of mine ,he also writes non fiction books about reading ,writers the art of reading and his latest is about the time with Borges .Ernesto CHE Guevara was from Argentina as well and wrote his motorcycle diaries about a bike trip through Argentina and the surrounding countries which is a good read as you see the incidents that from the opinions in the later life of che .On my T.B.R pile i have a Julio Cortazaar a writer how’s style bridges the latin american magic realism and stream of conciousness of europe where he spent a long time I ve autonauts of the cosmonauts a book about a trip round france as made for the cosmopolitans.Another writer that i want to read is Cesar Aira his ghost is set in Buenos Aires and follows a daughters obsession with a ghost .other writers include Manuel Puig  Juan Filoy and Luisa Valenzulea .



My earliest memory of a world cup is the 1978 final in Argentina ,not so much the match as the stream of white streams surrounding what seemed a very lively crowd ,Argentina have a fine world cup history having won it twice at home in 1978 and then 8 years later in mexico they also came second in 1990 .I can ‘t not mention a couple of england Argentina relate incidents the infamous Maradona hand of god goal and the Beckham sending off in 1998 .Maradona did then go on to score one of the greatest solo goals of any world cup in that match against england .Maradona is one of the types of players Argentina produces time and time again small highly skilled attacking midfielders or strikers  from  Mario Kempes , Ossie Ardilles to Carlos Tevez at the moment . the will as ever be worth watching and as a number of the first team just won the champions league with inter Milan ,could be in with a chance .

the winning goal in 1978

What writers from Argentina do you know ?

books this week

Here are some of the books this week a Winston towers .the first is a prize from twitter –

The prince of mist by Carlos Ruiz  Zafon –

Carlos Ruiz Zafon

This is the first in a series of 4 young adult books that he wrote before shadow of the wind they were a huge success in his native spain .I enter a comp to win the book two bookmarks and poster on twitter by the lovely Nina Douglas the P.R for Orion books .


The other day Simon over at savidge reads said he was missing Eva and her Vlog library post so am i ,well here is my library choices had few to take back –

from a good friend

There are five from the library they are The belly of paris by Zola I haven’t read any Zola in a while and like the look of this one about a man returning to find a changed paris in the 1850’s disgusted at the affluent rich in paris ,The twin Gerbrand Bakker win of the 3 percent translated fiction prize ,a book set in a remote part of Holland the story evolves round some twins and the death of one of them ,Human love by Andrei Makine story set in africa and about love ,communism and the cost of idealism ,sounds good and he has been compared to Proust and Nabokov the writer grew up in Siberia ,Blaugast by Paul Leppin a novel of decline it says on the cover published after the writers death set in Prague follows a bored clerk on a downward spiral ,settlement by Christoph Hein ,this book is up for the impac award and by the descriptions of the books on the list appeal to me ,Hein grew up in East Germany and is respected as on of the fore most voices in germany this book follows one man’s tale for 50 years as told through 5 of his friends .

 Now the other two books are via my fellow blogger and huge twitter friend Simon at insidebooks ,if you take advice on one blog to read that you may be don’t i d say Simons a hugely knowledgable blogger with similar tastes to my self .Tofu landing is from quartet and Simon did a great interview with the writer .the second book is Natascha by a writer born in Latvia that now lives in Canada ,the book follows russian Jews living in Toronto .

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May 2010


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